A cautious bushcarer gathers no moss

Feral Herald |
Careful where you tread! Pseudoscleropodium purum is an invasive moss that reproduces by fragmentation, making it easy to spread.
Careful where you walk! This invasive moss reproduces by fragmentation, making it easy to spread.

Michelle Storer spends a lot of time tackling invasive plants in her work with the City of Hobart’s volunteer Bushcare groups, but until recently she was completely oblivious to one quite prominent invader, even though it was right under her feet!

Michelle Storer is the Bushcare Operations Supervisor with the City of Hobart
Michelle Storer is the Bushcare Operations Supervisor with the City of Hobart

While admiring the mossy landscape at a Fern Tree Bushcare working bee, bryologist (moss and liverwort expert) and Bushcare volunteer Lynette Cave pointed out that the main object of my admiration was, in fact, a weed!

Pseudoscleropodium purum is a large and obvious moss likely introduced to Tasmania in the 1950s. Indigenous to Europe, it has made its way across the world. One of many invasive mosses in Tasmania, its impacts on our native habitats are yet to be explored. In other parts of the world invasive mosses reduce groundcover diversity and prevent regeneration of native forest species.
Pseudoscleropodium purum reproduces by fragmentation – making it easy to spread.

“Ten years ago I only had a small amount in my backyard,” says Lynette. “Now it’s everywhere. Animals, lawn mowers and people would all have helped, spreading fragments around the place. Look out for it on Mt Wellington, on the edges of tracks. There’s plenty of it.”

At the end of Bushcare working bees I always ask volunteers to check their clothing and equipment for weed seeds and soil – from now on I’ll be adding moss fragments to that list!

The small size and difficulty in identifying invasive mosses mean they receive little attention. There are many other invasive species for which this is also true, including fungi and insects.

At Bushcare we strive to improve our biosecurity practices. If you have suggestions for how we can do this, please get in touch at bushcare@hobartcity. com.au.

Caring for Hobart’s bushlands

The City of Hobart’s Bushcare program encourages locals to get out into nearby bushland reserves where they can make a difference to the health of the natural environment. Volunteers get to learn about bush regeneration, and of course how to identify weed species.

This story was republished with permission from the original, which appeared in Bushcare’s newsletter the Bandicoot Times.

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